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Construction helps flooded towns

Clarksville, Miss. residents tour through the south part of town to view flooding.

TEXT OF STORY

Tess Vigeland: The mighty Mississippi is expected to crest this weekend after more than a week of massive flooding -- 23 levees have failed so far and 25 more are still considered at-risk. Floodwaters have taken a toll on farmland around the Midwest, putting even more pressure on an already-strained supply of grain. The Wall Street Journal reports a group of meat producers has asked the White House to roll back ethanol mandates because of the new damage to corn crops.

The rising waters have forced tens of thousands of people from their homes. Now the housing industry is looking ahead to the business of reconstruction. Marketplace's Jeff Tyler reports.


Jeff Tyler: In terms of rebuilding, the situation may not be as bad as it appears.

Wayne Winn is president of the Cedar Rapids Home Builders Association. He says this is not another Katrina.

Wayne Winn: I don't think it's going to be anything drastic. I've been out in the field inspecting for the last two days, and I would say 85 [percent], 90 percent of what we've already inspected will be repairable.

That means lots of work for local sub-contractors. Workers from out-of-state have begun to show up, too.

Winn: If you're a plumber, electrician, an HVAC, your phone is going to ring off the wall.

Houses need to be inspected by the city before residents can move back, so there's an urgency for repairs.

Winn says there's over 100 volunteers from his builders' association have been lending a hand, and cleaning out flooded homes.

Winn: Work is one thing people aren't afraid of around here. And when we get in a desperate situation, people just work harder.

Winn expects to find out next week how many houses will need to be rebuilt.

I'm Jeff Tyler for Marketplace.

About the author

Jeff Tyler is a reporter for Marketplace’s Los Angeles bureau, where he reports on issues related to immigration and Latin America.
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